How brands are all about feeling part of a group

How brands are all about feeling part of a group

An organisation’s brand only really exists in the way that its staff and customers act as a group, according to an expert at Aston Business School.

Dr Keith Glanfield, a lecturer in Strategic Brand Management and Identity in the Marketing Group at Aston, said millions of pounds are wasted on changing grand brand statements that few workers or customers can recognise or remember.

Dr Glanfield was speaking at the latest Fresh Perspectives breakfast seminar at Aston Business School on Tuesday 20 February, entitled ‘Living’ the brand: an unachievable, outdated and irrelevant distraction?

He said: “Brand statements often include words like integrity, innovation and empathy, but few of us can remember which ones are supposed to relate to which companies.

“People don’t love brands because of what words say about them, they use brands to affiliate with groups, and those groups are powerful when you have staff and customers who feel exclusivity and pride in being part of that group.”

Dr Glanfield gave an example of the supermarket Waitrose, where he recently saw a lettuce toppling off a display and watched as staff and customers all raced to pick it up, apologising to each other as they did this.

He asked: “Could you imagine that happening in another supermarket? And yet Waitrose has no grand mission statement, no strapline because it doesn’t need one, people just get it – they share a passion and feel an affiliation for that group.”

Dr Glanfield argued that a good brand has members who feel prestigious, which means the brand is something people want to be a part of.

He added: “Companies spend an awful lot of money on researching their brand, but all you need to do is ask staff and they’ll give you theirs and the customers’ perspective.”

If you want to know how Aston Business School can help your organisation, call Tanya Lomas at the Centre for Executive Development on 0121 204 3160, email or use the form here. We’ll respond within 24 hours.